Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My day-before-Thanksgiving-boss-is-gone-and-I’m-totally-slacking Update

Been feeling much better lately. Which, I am finding, is wonderful in terms of my motivation and mood; but –SURPRISE-I also worry that perhaps it means something else. Having the fatigue and nausea sucked, but I also felt pregnant.

Monday will mark 13 weeks. The time at which I lost the last pregnancy and the farthest I’ve ever gotten in a pregnancy. I’m a little nervous.


I have been meaning for a long time to clear up a post from several months ago. My father, trying to be helpful and using some numbers I gave him from our RE (that Jason and I had a 75% chance of success with no intervention), incorrectly assessed our successive chances. Here is what he wrote:

"Suppose you decide to try 4 more times, in future (Hope you are willing to look that far ahead).

What's the probability of success in at least one of those 4 times?
Probability of first failure = 0.35
Probability of first and second tries failing = 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.1225
Probability of 3 failed attempts = 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.042875
Probability of 4 failed attempts = 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.01500625
The probability of at least one success in those 4 attempts = 1 - 0.01500625 = 0.985"

It seemed a little fishy at the time since, in all my book and blog reading, the statistics definitely did not parse out so optimistically. But I thought, what the hell do I know about probabilities? His math must be right.

Anyway, the human body does not bend to such a straightforward probability model. I was confirmed in my intuition by some materials that Misfits posted after returning from her fabulous trip to Chicago where she met experts who had written books specifically about RPL. One of the books came with the table below, which corrected my father’s assumption that each “event” is independent from the other. In undiagnosed RPL – that is not the case; from occurrence to occurrence, the probability of success does NOT stay the same.

I have also included a seriously shocking graph depicting the estimated survival of human conceptions by gestation. They say that human reproduction is incredibly inefficient, and this graph certainly presents it as such.

Though not quite so optimistic as my father’s calculation, I think the RPL landscape (if the losses are unexplained) still presents a hopeful picture. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No go

We didn’t do the CVS.

It never even occurred to me that there would be a situation in which we would decide NOT to undergo the procedure; but as I should know by now, there are no guarantees in this game.

So I got to the maternal fetal medicine clinic on Monday morning with a VERY full bladder (as per instructions) and was in a foul mood because 1) Jason and I had had a fight the evening before, 2) I was very uncomfortable because of my bladder, 3) the doctor was late, and 4) I was fucking nervous.

So by the time we got into a room to measure baby etc etc, I was fit to be tied. Even though I had seen the fetus just a week before, I burst out crying when we saw the baby moving. My sobbing was so sudden and so contradictory to the happy situation we found ourselves in (baby alive, heartbeat there, measuring correctly, blah blah) that Jason was, I could tell, having one of those moments men have when they are completely kerflummoxed by a woman’s emotions. I surprised myself, so I know he was completely baffled. He just grabbed my hand and asked, “What’s wrong baby? Everything’s fine!” All I could say was, “I know.”

It felt like a release to cry and I am sure I was crying for a variety of reasons – relief that everything looked good, PTSD from the last time I had an ultrasound in that office (when we did the NT quad screen and everything looked fine, only to find out a week later that our test came back positive for chromosomal problems and then we subsequently miscarried at 13 weeks), and anxiety about the CVS procedure.

When the doctor finally arrived, I had had some time to collect myself, though he could tell I’d been crying. He was very kind AND he let me pee for 15 seconds – so I fell in love with him.

After looking around for a bit, he got up and, using the ultrasound picture on the monitor in front of me, pointed out the position of all my organs and then proceeded to explain how the position of the organs and the uterus increased my risk of miscarriage from the procedure. As you can see from my brilliant reconstruction of the ultrasound, my intestines were blocking the path from my stomach to the villi – that meant that entry through the stomach was 100% not an option - and the path from the vaginal canal would have required a risky 90 degree turn to access the villi.

He recommended waiting till week 15 when we could do amniocentesis; we agreed.

So, after another emotional roller-coaster ride, guess what I did? I went to the maternity store and spent $233 dollars on pants and some summer dresses and shirts that I MIGHT need if I make it to the summer. The pants I was OK buying (I need those); but I felt foolish and naïve for buying the summer clothes. Yet hope and excitement definitely triumphed. I haven’t even reached the date of my last miscarriage and I’m buying clothes that I can’t wear for another 4-5 months. My only excuse is that they were discounted significantly and my frugality (and, yes, hope) won the day. I will burn them if I miscarry.

I love the maternity pants and don’t know why we don’t wear these fabulous elasticized, stretchy pants ALL the time. They are so comfortable and have made my life about 50% better already. My gas-filled intestines and teeny-tiny uterus can hang as far out as they want – yay for elastic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drama Rama

Ladies – to know that you are thinking of me and wondering how I am. Well it warms my heart. Thank you for checking in B and Roccie.

I am doing much better this week. I am amazed at how much better my outlook on life is when I don’t feel like the walking dead with indigestion. Feeling rested and being able to eat with a modicum of comfort have made a big difference.

I also broke down and bought some Metamusil this week since the intestinal backup was becoming urgent. Just FYI, when you see any pregnant woman in the first trimester rubbing her “pregnant belly,” she is basically giving her swollen, jacked-up bowels a good stroking. I was wondering what the hell was moving me into my size 10 pants so quickly, never having suffered from constipation before. I’m ordinarily suuuuper regular and thankful for that. Doc told me that it was my digestive organs moving further up in my abdomen as the uterus expands. I had no idea. I don’t know how I missed that the first three times, but I thought all that bloating was a swelling uterus. Nope. So all those stupid ladies who are 6 weeks pregnant and rubbing their bellies are just grabbing their stomachs and large intestines. I’m sure you all knew that, but if you didn’t – now you can take pleasure in their ignorance. I have been very “anti belly-rub” this whole pregnancy except when I grab my stomach out of a fit of mild nausea. And now I am so glad because how stupid would I have looked!

Also, I think it is no coincidence that I am also feeling better this week because I got to verify on Monday that the fetus is still alive and kicking. I was not due to check in on the fetus until this coming Monday (the day of the CVS procedure) and I could not fathom showing up for that very scary procedure to be told that there was no reason to do the procedure. So I called my doc on Monday and he saw me that afternoon. While we couldn’t find the heartbeat with the Doppler thingy (slightly distressing- so glad I haven’t gotten the fetal monitor yet), we were able to see the fetus with an ancient ultrasound machine. The little heart was flickering. It was also waving what I have brilliantly identified as its right arm/hand/bud.

So I was reassured, my system seems to be settling down, and I am only three days (one work day) away from the next big hurdle. So I feel very fine today. Very fine.

I am trying hard to avoid thinking about the CVS procedure. As you all know, it comes with a risk of miscarriage. That’s as far as I’m willing to discuss it. I will be flat on my back for all of Monday, and Tuesday as well if I feel any inkling that my uterus is twinging. Shit, I won’t even go in to work if I have a bad case of gas. I am completely horizontal next week for as long as I need. What else is there to say except if I ever needed your positive energy, it is on Monday at 10:00 am CST. Thanksverymuch.
In other news, this weekend, my insensitive friend, Belle, called me while she was making a long interstate drive; this is when we usually chat, during her hour trek on I-10. This tends to imply to me that she has no idea that we may need to have a "special" conversation as opposed to “the usual.” On the other hand, she has not sent me any other emails and this is the first time she has been in touch since she sent that dreadful email during the summer. I missed the call and she left a message. I had to have Jason listen to the message; I absolutely couldn’t face any number of things she might have had to say. Turns out she was just checking in on me, seeing how I’m doing etc.

So now I need your advice. I don’t know what to do with her. I have not called her back and feel absolutely no desire to. Even if I did decide to talk to her, I certainly couldn’t do it at this point while she is a few months away from pregnancy, clearly incapable of protecting my feelings, and while I am on the precipice of finding out if my pregnancy is viable. The most I could possibly do is email.

Secondly, I don’t think I am willing to carry on a charade of a relationship where I stuff my feelings down and simply protect myself from her in the future. I just felt that the situation was mishandled so miserably and my trust in her as a friend was so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to have any sort of relationship with her without addressing my feelings. It would almost violate my integrity.

I would love to just ignore her calls and emails and pretend like she never existed. Yet, despite what I FEEL, I KNOW it would be much more adult if I could acknowledge my feelings to her and clearly address why I have not been in contact. It is the fair, adult thing to do that gives her a chance to explain herself. It would appropriately honor the 16-year friendship we’ve maintained.

So what do I do? How do I address this? I could just ignore it and never speak to her again; but I don’t think that’s feasible. So do I send her an email that explains that I can’t talk to her now and, by the way, she really damaged our friendship? I don’t want drama; I want it to go away. But it feels wrong to so completely burn a bridge. I still feel some inkling of loyalty and duty to the friendship. Help.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Off My Game

Let me preface this post by saying that every time I think about writing, I get a little spurt of anxiety – whether it’s performance anxiety or whether it has to do with the subject matter, I’m not sure. At any rate, I get a nice shot of adrenaline that lands square in my very upset stomach, precipitating a surge of nausea that makes blogging completely out of the question. I can’t even read your blogs. I get through work, drive home, and collapse on the couch in a teary ball because I’m so tired and my back hurts and and I’m hungry and turned off by food at the same time.

I am sooo off my game.

It was a week yesterday since my 6 week ultrasound. A horrible horrible surreal experience. I don’t think I have ever felt so keenly how my life can turn on a dime. It wasn’t a “what if” moment. This was an honest-to-god fork in the road and there I was laying helplessly on a table, legs spread, U/S wand invading my space – you know the drill. It really felt like a life-or-death game of Russian Roulette. Bullet or no bullet.

As you all know, this was the moment in which I found out if my husband and I were going to give up the dream of parenthood or whether we got to play more of the “waiting game.” I was at the mercy of the ultrasound tech who – irritatingly - didn’t seem to realize her pivotal role as the messenger of the Rest of My Life. Those ultrasound techs have no idea what an enormous impact they have on our experience and memory of these emotionally-laden moments. Little do they know they become very strong characters in the narratives of our fertility journey. I remember every one of my techs. Every one. Not what they look like, but how they delivered the news. How they reacted to my grief or my joy. I was pretty underwhelmed by the gal that told me she saw a heartbeat.

I couldn’t look at the monitor. I looked at my husband and made him look at me and just tell me over and over that we were going to be all right. No matter what. The ultrasound tech took too long for my comfort to tell me that there was a heartbeat. I’m sure it was a matter of, like, 15 seconds. But when she didn’t say something right away, I was halfway to me and Jason in a beach house we could now afford as a 2 person family.

So obviously, very good news. Heartbeat was 136 or 139 b/m and the fetus measured at 7 weeks. Bonus week! That is one less week of worrying. Turns out I ovulated really really really early. Like 3-5 days after the last day of my period. Guess my body wanted to get this whole mess over with as expediently as I did.

I am now at 8 weeks and our next hurdle is on Nov. 15th when we have the CVS procedure. In the meantime, I am treading water and I will try to be a better support to you all.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One of the Boys

Jason just left for a fishing trip; his buddies picked him up and they are on their way to the Gulf to tuna fish.

Jason was telling me yesterday that both fishing buddies weren't even married last time they fished together and they are now both married and pregnant ... well, their wives are. I asked him how it made him feel and he said he was happy for them and wished them well.  Typical Jason. We didn't talk any more about it.

Well just now, when they picked him up, I congratulated them on the good news and there were thanks all around. Then his friend said, "And congratulations to you!" I hardly knew what he meant and it dawned on me (too slowly for my comfort) that Jason had told them! Which was fine with me, I've decided to be open about this pregnancy. Not that I took out an ad or anything, but I'm not in my dome of secrecy anymore. Being that Jason doesn't share much, I assumed he hadn't told these friends; and it took me way off guard because he's not particularly close to these guys. But who am I to know what constitutes "close" in manland.

But this is what killed me. After his friend congratulated us, Jason excitedly said, "Yeah. It's weird. last time we went fishing, only one of us was married and no one was pregnant, now we're all married and all pregnant! How far along are we now, babe?"

"4.5 weeks," I said.  "Very very very early."

Oh my god. My heart sank because he is excited, he's hoping, and he wants so badly to be a part of the tribe of fathers. He wanted to be able to chime in proudly with how far along we are. I want him to get it; I want to be able to give it to him. I need my body to perform.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thank you

Thanks everyone. I guess I actually DO feel better after receiving y'alls thoughtful responses and encouragement. I feel complete after having shared the story, and now I will try not to dwell on my ill will. I will admit that every time one of you indicated your disgust for her behavior, I felt a warm fuzzy glow inside. She's not such hot shit after all.

Sharing the story clearly doesn't change how I feel about her and the pain is still there. But I do feel like I have taken a little of my power back by standing up for my hurt and indignation. Perhaps she didn't intend to hurt me, but goddammit she did! And I have to stand up for my belief that she - unlike other friends who might not be able to parse the finer points of IF etiquette because they have no previous context for it - has almost no excuse.

One thing in her defense - I really really nailed the "I'm so happy for you" act. It was an act, and I was fully aware of it at the time. But there was no way to express the complexity of my feelings after having been ambushed like that. So I stuck a smile on my face and was peeerfectly charming. For that reason, I suppose that I bear some responsibility for being included on her U/S email list. But I made a firm decision that I was not going to playact any longer at my expense. So I did not email her back any response. And I think that sent a pretty clear (and yes, passive-aggressive) message that that was not gonna fly. I know she knows the sex by now, and I don't - so mission accomplished.

In sum, there seems to be no better place, except perhaps for a therapists office, to unload your demons than an anonymous blog. And I guess that's what we are all here to do.

Roscoe and Duke

My dogs. They are a handful. Before I came along and whipped them and my future husband into shape, they had a very bad reputation around our rural neighborhood. 

The escaped multiple times, once killing a rabbit (some poor child's 4-H project) and they were accused of killing some sheep. Jason even got a visit from the Sheriff and the owner of the sheep. It was all hearsay mind you, no one witnessed the marauding. But our dogs were accused and probably rightly so.

I repeat - this was before I came along. I will be generous to Jason and just conclude that he was going through a learning curve with the dogs - learning that they like to escape ... and disappear for days at a time   ... and kill things while they are out roaming.  It's not the dogs' fault for being dogs; it was Jason's for being a negligent owner, which he readily admits. He's lucky they are still alive since according to the "law of rural America" they could have rightly been shot several times over.

Anyway, did I mention this was all BEFORE me? When I knew I was in the picture to stay and was going to have to worry about those dogs, all that (most of that) escaping stopped and there have been no more 4-H tragedies.

We now try to spend their endless energy at the dog park ... in the city. It is a ludicrous situation to have to drive your dogs to the city from the country so that they can run free. But there it is. The picture is them at the dog park.

They are wonderful, sweet creatures - Roscoe and Duke (son and father). But they are ALL black lab - full of energy and instinct.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


WARNING: very long post; time required: 15 minutes

I have been thinking a lot about jealousy lately and wanted to see what sort of input you all had. The following post may seem very judgmental, and I really don’t mean it to be so. I am having some personal struggles and know that you smart ladies will have some perspective on this topic and I need to voice my doubts to see if I can make sense of my discomfort and guilt regarding jealousy.


In general, of course, we are taught that jealousy is bad. We are taught not to give-in to jealousy and envy nor to express it. It’s a hallmark of weak character and misplaced values, breeding dissatisfaction and resentment when one should more appropriately express gratitude for what she does have. Hence, all of the hair pulling we do in these IF blogs about feeling like horrible monsters for the intense animosity we feel towards pregnant women.

Despite the guilt – or maybe because of it - we all seem to dive headlong into the cathartic release of our pent-up resentments. We seem to revel in it, in fact; not just engage in it. It’s an orgy of frustration, characterized by its intensity as we all FINALLY feel safe to express taboo thoughts and feelings. It’s a wonderful supportive safe place that allows us to express with very little reservation emotions that may otherwise eat us up from the inside out.

But here’s what I am wondering …. while I desperately want to continue engaging in self-righteous and indignant rants against the injustice of IF in general and I’d love to tell you all about the affront of my inconsiderate pregnant friend in particular, I feel unsettled about it. It’s not that I’m afraid that anyone is judging me, because I know you all feel the same way I do and none of my IRL friends know about my blog. So there is no fear of being caught or being judged. But I still don’t feel right about it.


Why do I feel uncomfortable with it? In the first place, it makes me feel bad about myself. I will admt to you that I am an unbelievably jealous person, I’m not just jealous about fertility. I constantly compare myself and my life those of others I admire, though it usually isn’t expressed through anger so much as self-flagelation. "She has such a beautiful house and beautiful kids and smart husband. She’s so accomplished and popular. What happened that I’m not more like her?" I’m jealous of what "she" has, and I blame myself for not having it. So that’s the first thing, being resentful of someone else’s talents or good fortune ends up actually damaging me because I feel that I am either incompetent (I control my destiny) or unworthy (the Universe/God controls my destiny). Either way, I am “less than.”

Secondly, as I gorge myself on indignation and self-righteousness and am supported in these feelings in the blogospere , I feel distance growing between me and people I used to feel more connected to. I also judge them very harshly for … whatever. I am very easily offended by lack of attention or “incorrect” attention. The “us and them” divide is growing and I find myself becoming one of those tiresome people who is always expecting others (in my head at least) to be totally PC about infertility and not offend me in any way shape or form.

And then I wanted to ask – does jealousy have a positive function at all? Anger definitely does; even though anger is arguably something that must be carefully managed, we still recognize it has a valid place within the constellation of expressable emotions. But jelousy is usually completely off the table. There is just no context in which it is OK to express it? Why?

Just so that you know I am not “above” basking in indignation, I will unload what I've been holding in until now about my horrible awful friend.

My Horrible Awful No-Account Friend

So this friend of mine (I’ll call her Belle) - she was the source of intense jealousy before she ever got pregnant. In the first place she is gorgeous. The effect she has on men AND women when she walks into a room is remarkable; I have honestly never seen anything like it. People offer their seats, buy her bottles of wine, remark on her beauty – they are enchanted by her. Even me. I can hardly look at her without constantly thinking how goddamn beautiful she is every single second. Really, to look at her is just distracting because all you can think about is her beauty.

But she’s not just beauty – she’s brains too. Big, double-wide brains, she’s eloquent and analytical and is on the cusp of earning her PhD in psychology.

She is also extremely personable and popular and friendly and she is one of those people who strangely doesn’t gossip about others. She talks about people, sure, but there is never that edge of maliciousness that I know sneaks into my tone of voice when I talk about some people. Her approach is if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.

And she is going to make an extremely comfortable living once she gets out of school. She is a very, very hard worker and has worked hard for everything she has, but I can’t help including in my list of complaints that she will soon make at least 4 times what I make.

There are aspects of Belle’s life and her personality that I find distasteful. For instance, she is inordinately focused on her looks in a way that reveals that much of her self-worth is wrapped up in it. She presents the conundrum of being very comfortable walking around with unwashed hair and jogging pants, but still self-conscious enough that she got liposuction in her fucking twenties (she’s not skinny, but she is certainly not overweight and didn’t need liposuction at all). For someone who could literally step out of bed and in front of a camera, her obsession with her looks is confounding. It’s also irritating because she knows she is beautiful and will use it to manipulate people.

And she talks a lot. She talks too much and it’s irritatingly self-promotional about 90% of the time. For someone who is going to get paid to listen to other people’s problems all day, she is awfully bad at it. She constantly monopolizes a conversation and interrupts you with ways in which she has experienced what you are talking about or things that she has done or accomplished that trump yours.

Plus, she places a lot of value on money and appearance and all of those surface things. I, while not beyond wishing I had more money or was more beautiful, obviously don’t care enough to seek a higher-paying job or put on makeup. So with respect to how we live our lives, we are very different and now live in 2 different cities and had generally begun to drift apart anyway. But she continued to be one of the few women in whom I confided because I could trust her, and she can be a very caring person with a great deal of compassion when you need her to be.

Cut to late May when I told Belle over the phone that I had just had a miscarriage and that it was my third one. She knew about the first one, but not the second. I generally glossed over the second one with everyone so it wasn’t weird that I hadn’t told her about it. We talked a little on the phone and I wasn’t very emotional about it at all. I was matter-of-fact and full of information, but didn’t really express my sadness. I’m not sure why, but that’s how it was. She told me that she and her husband were still trying (which I knew) and we talked a little more about being older and trying to get pregnant (she is 38 or 39) and that was that.

Then a month later, she wanted to arrange a dinner date with me and some of our mutual acquaintances (who have no idea about my RPL). This is something we do periodically and it wasn’t at all out of the ordinary, so you can imagine that I was not at all prepared when our mutual acquaintance showed up to dinner 20 weeks pregnant with her second child (she’s also 39) and then Belle promptly announced that she was 12 weeks pregnant.

I was reeling. Just spinning. I couldn’t believe that she had done that to me. I just couldn’t imagine how she could be so out of touch with the fact that that might be incredibly painful for me. She explained in the bathroom that she was afraid to tell me over the phone and wanted to do it in person. Really? In person? At a table with 2 other people, one of whom you knew was going to make a simultaneous announcement that she is 20 weeks pregnant? REALLY? You don’t think it would have more appropriately been a private conversation!!!???? I know she’s not stupid, so that leaves self-involved or so scared of my reaction that she PLANNED it that way - in public with 2 other people who had no idea about my RPL so that there was no way I could express my true feelings without revealing my losses to 2 people I had no desire of informing.

And then, of course, the ENTIRE dinner conversation revolved around pregnancy; and this was about a month and a half after I lost my third pregnancy in a row. If this is a reflection of how able she is to muster empathy for people, then she will SUCK as a psychologist. Clearly she is way more self-involved than I originally suspected.

Here’s something even more incredible. Her older sister went through YEARS of IF and Belle knew as much as anyone can know without actually having gone through it themselves the brand of pain that IF brings. Her sister and her husband tried for years to get pregnant via IVF – I don’t know how many failed attempts there were, but it was more than 2. They finally did get pregnant and lost the baby late in the pregnancy because the umbilical chord had wrapped around the baby’s neck and asphyxiated her. Following that loss, they decided to adopt and chose a mother who backed out at the last minute, AFTER they had paid for lots of medical bills. They did finally manage to adopt a beautiful little girl, but what went before was heart-wrenching. So to think that Belle was so selfish and clueless, having walked that road with her sister, just really confused me.

But there’s more. I apparently did such a good acting job at dinner (thanks to popping a Clo.nopin as soon as I could) that I convinced her I was emotionally resilient enough for her to email me GODDAMED ULTRASOUND PICS, gushing about how miraculous it was to see the baby moving etc etc. This was a 13 week ultrasound. The same week I miscarried. I did not respond to that email (which was addressed to several people) and have not talked or heard from her since.

God. After writing all of this, I really don’t know why I would ever consider continuing a friendship with her.

I feel complete after having told this story and slightly avenged; but I do not feel better.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And another

IVF in the News

FYI everyone. 2 article on IVF.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interviewing my Husband

It’s been a grumpy day because I didn’t feel pregnant.

Also, blogging is TIRING – lovely and enriching and satisfying - but tiring nonetheless. So I am grumpy that I can’t just blog and read blogs all day instead of having to do it at night when the last thing I want is to sit in front of a computer after a full 8 hours of doing so. But I HAVE to do it because it is such a life-saver for me right now.

I’m sure I’ve made the process much more cumbersome than it needs to be. I am an extremely organized person and operate much better when things are in their place – then I know where to find them when I need them and life proceeds efficiently. So my approach to blogging has been predictably systematized. I should have been a robot.

Point in fact, as I get deeper into the blogosphere, I realize that consistent interaction (both posting and commenting) is necessary in order to reap the benefits of blogging. So I am trying very hard to leave thoughtful comments and remember at which point each of you is in your journey (even those who don’t even know I’m reading yet). But I have started getting confused with the CD’s and MTHFR’s and IUI’s etc. etc. on top of the piecemeal way I have to sneak in a read here and there at work, maniacally minimizing and maximizing my internet browser all day. So no wonder I can’t keep straight which one of you works for a Jewish school, which one IS Jewish, and which one is exploring Judaism. This can only end badly. I just know one day I will post a great chicken and sausage recipe on a vegetarian’s comment area and feel like a total ass.

To avoid feeling like an ass, I have, in my overboard (aka thorough) way, started to keep notes on each of you so that I can scan them during those times I get lost or have to remind myself of some detail of your situation. It’s kind of ridiculous and insanely time-consuming, but kind of cool. Maybe I’ll share my synopses one day. It’ll be like playing your blogs in fast forward.
In other news:

I got the digital voice recorder from UPS (they sent it from Los Angeles to Louisiana via ….. you will never guess …. Ottawa. WTF. Needless to say, it did not arrive while my mother-in-law was still here). It is the cooooooolest and I feel like Ira Glass who I have a total crush on - although I think he may be a tad arrogant which would be a turn-off. I love love love radio programming and listen to it religiously. If I had a religion, it would be National Public Radio.

I decided to interview my husband, and since it was just 2 days after we had gotten the BFP, I thought it would be good to document our thoughts and feelings. The interview went well, aside from the interference that my cellphone created because it was lying next to the microphone. You’d think I’d have learned basic lessons about double checking recording equipment in the 6 years I studied cultural anthro. Total newbie mistake, man.

Because we have been talking the fertility issue to death, there were no new revelations on that front. Same old same old, you know, talking big talk about not letting ourselves hope too much while knowing full well we are hoping our hearts out. But Jason did reveal something that I have been thinking about a lot since the interview.

You see, on the exterior Jason looks like a bouncer. He’s tall and thick with a shaved head (sometimes he sports a Mohawk which I think is ridiculous because he hardly has any hair and it’s all thin on top and thicker in the back and he just ends up looking like he’s growing a stripe of hair down the back of his head. Plus it makes him look so mean and he’s so not. But whatever, he thinks it looks awesome). He also doesn’t say much most of the time; strong, silent – you know the type. But he is the deepest pool of love and loyalty I have ever known. He loves his family and friends fiercely. It is easy to forget that his emotions, because they are not evident, are very strongly felt. Part of our breakdown over the summer had to do with me underestimating the toll that the miscarriages have taken on him.

He shoulders everything so silently and pushes it to a place I can’t see – and he apparently does it to protect me. In fact, he spends a lot of time worrying about me and protecting me emotionally and his distress over my unhappiness is sometimes so intense that I used to think he was transferring of all of his own grief into worry about me so that he wouldn’t have to deal with his feelings. For someone with a less attentive husband, this may sound heavenly, but it was very often irritating because I didn’t feel like I had permission to express my very appropriate grief after each miscarriage. He didn’t want me to be sad, he was desperately worried about my sadness; and I just wanted him to let me be sad and by the way, Jason, you could be a little sadder yourself since it was your baby too, thank you very much.

But that wasn’t the revelation. The revelation was that the reason he gets so twisted up when I start to spiral downward is because when I was admitted to the psychiatric unit after my first miscarriage, it scared him like he has never been scared before. Given his exceptional loyalty and love, I realize now that he was prepared to stick by me till my dying day and was scared to death that I might mentally disintegrate to the point of psychosis or something. Not to mention it’s just fucking scary to see someone you love in so much pain that they have to be admitted to a hospital.

I can’t believe that before he pointed it out in this interview, I never ever realized how very much that episode in our lives scarred him. It’s like he has PTSD and every time I start to show signs of the person that he knew before I went into the hospital (depressed, raging anger, hopelessness and epic anxiety) he is revisited with fear that I may end up in that place again. Obviously, post-miscarriage me is very very hard on him and probably has a lot to do with why he really needs this attempt to be our last.

As we grow together, I think he might become more comfortable with the rhythm of my depression and realize that as long as I am appropriately medicated, the depression is totally manageable. I have never felt like I was on the edge of my sanity –desperate, sad, hopeless and angry, trapped by a brain that can only provide painful thoughts and feelings over which I have almost no control, yes - but I have never felt in danger of losing screws. My time in the hospital was very perfunctory (3 days) – we just needed to get me stabilized on medication again – and the healing was slow but steady.

I never considered, however, that he wasn’t in my head and so couldn’t know that the danger of me crossing the line of sanity was slim, nor did I consider that he had no historical context for my breakdown like my parents had (this wasn’t their first rodeo though it might have been the worst). Those were extreme circumstances and as long as I have access to SSRI’s , it never has to be repeated. But he didn’t know any of that.

You can imagine, then, after putting myself in his shoes, how amazed I am that he is still here. And I definitely have more empathy for the amount of time he spends worrying about me and my moods.

Friday, October 1, 2010


My abdomen feels heavy and achy and I love the discomfort because I am reassured that something is going on in there. I imagine for women who have had an easy time with pregnancy, the discomfort is an irritation. But I am so thankful for it.

I'm not loving, however, the "outbreak" I am having due to a compromised immune system; but it's more proof so I won't complain about it one single solitary second more.


I have decided to take some Fridays off to give myself a few long weekends and short work weeks to bide the time till the ultrasound. Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Office Politics

First I want to thank all of you that offered your (whisered) :) congratulations on my news. I was surprised by your good wishes; I don't know why except that I am always taken-aback that anyone cares or that anyone else might feel hope where I mostly feel dread.  And I certainly worry that I will lose you. I don't think this is the first time I have expressed that I am surprised by comments; I think I said the exact same thing. Sorry.  But I LOVE them.

I also still LOVE my new OBGYN. The day I called to let the office know I was pregnant, he called me personally and wanted to go over my care plan with me again - just to make sure he was doing what I needed him to do. At first, I had contemplated not even measuring HCG because it wasn't going to alleviate any worry on my part; all three of my former pregnancies featured normal HCG levels. But I decided to go ahead and do the blood work so that I would get a heads up if there was a potential problem. He had some fancy clinical term for it, I can't remember what it was. But basically, normal result indicates nothing, abnormal result indicates potential problem.

I got the official confirmation that I was pregnant that same day (HCG 144) at work.  As I was leaving the office I stared at the wall for about 10 seconds, trying to decide if I was going to tell my boss (who shares an office with me). This would have been my fourth pregnancy announcement to her - she has been there for all of them.  

My boss is a very kind understanding woman and has been very good to me through some of the lowest points in my life. She has never balked at giving me time off and offers just the right amount of concern and privacy. But she is my boss, bottom line, and I am in an extremely vulnerable position emotionally. I hate having to reveal such intimate details of my life to my boss. I want to be Super-Capable and Together employee, not flakey, grief-stricken liability.  These cracks in my armor just leave me too exposed; and my boss, while always kind to me and someone I do honestly believe is my ally, has a very very sharp tongue when it comes to people she does not respect. She will rip someone up and down behind their back and then be totally normal to them to their face. It's pretty vicious and  unsettling because I do think she has a tender heart and that she's compensating for this tenderness by being unnecessarily aggressive. Not one of her better characteristics, obviously. It's the one thing that stops me from completely relaxing around her because I don't think I'm magically beyond her displeasure.

Secondly, while Jason and I were going through our rough patch during the summer, I had decided that I couldn't stand my life any longer and something had to give. So I began to seek other employment and revealed my plan to my boss (against all my friends' advice ...  I just didn't know how to get around the issue that I need her as a reference).  So, always favoring honesty over any kind of deception (cause I suck at it), I told her that it was unclear whether Jason and I were going to try again and that if I wasn't going to be a mother, then I would be "rich and famous." That was said with the appropriate amount of sarcasm, by the way, because I am so not going to be rich and famous - but I would like a job that pays more. She was cool about it and we had a nice little heart to heart. But now I just feel like a total flake for yanking her chain (though not purposefully) about seeking other employment and then turning around and laying another pregnancy scenario on her.

Finally, knowing how clueless  people can be with respect to the pain IF causes when they havn't experienced IF themselvees, I was concerned about how to express in an appropriately dry, business-like manner  how much this is going to FUCK ME UP  if it ends in another miscarriage. That if I need to fall off the edge of the world, or I bite her head off, or have to spend a few more days in inpatient psych care, I'd sure love it if I could do all that and know that I have a job waiting at the end of it. 

I told her.

My announcement went like this: "Well, I know I'm  like to give you whiplash, but ... I'm pregnant again." (cause that's how we talk in the Dirty South). And then, with all the not-so-subtle nonchalence I could muster, I explained that this was our last time trying and outlined how I might have to take my remaining vacation and sick days. As usual, she was understanding and accomodating and a perfectly good boss. And I almost immediately had a wave of regret; I wasn't ready to tell.  But I suspect I wouldn't have been ready to tell for months.  And I needed to go get blood drawn on Thursday after lunch .....  soooo ...

I did get my blood drawn today (Thursday) and my HCG has more than doubled. Not really surprised. First ultrasound scheduled for October 18th so I will be an increasingly awful employee. I sure hope she understands.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Here we go.

Hubby said: "We'll see."

Cause "pregnant" doesn't mean "PREGNANT" Pregnant means, "maybe." I have nothing hopeful to say-I just don't want it to hurt. I don't want to be hurt.   

Memory and Forgetting

DISCLAIMER: I was reading ginger and lime's blog and was interested in her entry on pain. It inspired me to think some more about the issue and put my two cents in. Later that evening, I was reading through a new blog and reached the last entry. The topic was on Pain, and suddenly, I realized that I was reading the post that had originally inspired ginger and lime! So there is definitely a weird infinite loop happening here. All that has to happen at this point is for Tertia to read my post below and be inspired to write a follow-up on Pain, and we will have come full circle. 

All that said, I'm not going to waste a perfectly good post that took me way too long to write. Enjoy it for all its redundancy!

P.S. DISCLAIMER: If egghunt ever runs across my post below, please know that even though our thoughts are eerily similar, I wrote it before reading yours. So that must simply mean we're kindred spirits!


I read ginger and lime’s post and was inspired to continue the discussion because I have had similar thoughts about my own pain and have felt similarly guilty about enshrining, sanctifying and even idolizing my Suffering as proof that I am “special” - for lack of a better word. By elevating my pain to such significant status, I somehow look down on the world from my pedestal of pain with a certain amount of disdain for the petty concerns of “normal” people. I love to think, “You think you have it hard, try losing three babies in a row … lightweights. Pffft.”

Perhaps it is a way for me to eek some meaning out of my pain – a way to have it function as a vehicle by which to gain social or moral superiority in a situation in which I more typically feel broken, abnormal, punished and generally “less than.” We all know the unfortunate statistical position in which we fall, and when you are struck by that unlikely meteor, understandably, you want to invest it with some positive function.

But then, on the precipice of gloating, I remember that there is always someone who has it worse than me, who could argue that their suffering is more acute and deserves more attention and pity. And there I am, on my mark, ready to sprint in my own personal Pain Olympics (a term I love. Who came UP with that!?) – the desire to legitimize my pain competing with my guilt for claiming too much suffering.

Objectively, you might be able to get a cross section of people to agree on what situations are for horrific than others. (The following exercise is just a philosophical exercise, I mean no offense and am making no judgments). For instance, I tend to think that time spent in a concentration camp trumps a miscarriage in the first trimester. What about finer-tuned differences? I find cancer and miscarriage hard to parse out (I think they both have to do with facing premature mortality). And I suspect that I’d much rather lose a baby in the first trimester than in the second or third. What if I had never gotten pregnant? Is the pain and disappointment greater or lesser losing a fetus vs. never having been pregnant at all? I could keep unraveling, but I have to stop myself here and think hard about what I just typed because I realize how presumptuous it is of me to assume any pain is greater or lesser than any other – even my own. It’s easy to dismiss my pain, particularly in hindsight. But really, when I was in the middle of that pain, it was just PAIN. Sometimes the pain was a 3, sometimes a 10, then down to a 5. But when the pain was a 10, it didn’t matter what caused the pain. It was excruciating no matter what. And once in a while, I can experience that 10 again – out of the blue. But those episodes are farther and farther apart – the erosion of pain by time.

Fact is, as soon as I start trying to make distinctions between pain, I realize the fruitlessness of such comparisons. It’s dehumanizing and useless. Pain is pain, awful is awful. The Pain Olympics, while a juicy new item to throw on the pyre of self-flagellation, is just, in the end, not useful. Some people will look at my pain and think, “I am so lucky.” And some people will look at my pain and think, “She doesn’t know what suffering is.” It’s all a matter of where you are standing and who you are asking.

My therapeutic approach to my suffering is that I seek comfort from those who can understand my particular flavor of suffering (other IFers), which serves to validate and acknowledge my pain. And when I am in a bad place emotionally and want to scream at everyone who is demanding something from me to please-give-me-a-break-because-I’ve-got-enough-to-bear-and-if-they-knew-what-I-had-to-go-through-they-would-feel-so-guilty-about-not-handling-me-with-kid-gloves, I try to keep in mind that 1) they can’t identify with my situation and 2) they are probably thinking the same thing with respect to their OWN pain. So I try to swallow my rage and suffering till I can visit with you all here in blogland and spew my pain. And even then, this “rage against the machine” is only cathartic when used sparingly. I find if I live in a state of perpetual rage and martyrdom, I lose touch with a different, equally viable reality that I can create if I choose.

So at this point, some of you may want to exit because I’ll be offering something that has to do with starting to move past pain or at least wrangle it a bit. I realize that when you are in the midst of grief, you don’t want or need ANYONE to tell you to snap out of it. That is beyond inconsiderate. Everyone needs to have their pain acknowledged and respected (till loved ones intervene in concern, perhaps).

But if you have reached the phase in your grief where you may want to let go of some of it and you are worried that moving out of the pain negates the important influence it’s had on your life – then this podcast from Radiolab might be worth a listen, It helped me dissacociate myself from my situation and try to think of ways I can alter my “personal narrative” so that it is not so rife with suffering.

For those of you who haven’t hear of RadioLab, it is a radio show that explores abstract themes from a scientific perspective. The one I am recommending is called Memory and Forgetting. For someone who suffers from diagnosed depression, is a pessimist and catastrophizer, and who has done a lot of work in therapy trying to shift my thinking habits, this research on memory and forgetting is extremely interesting because it reinforces the incredible influence our habits of thinking have on our self-concept and even the “narrative” of our lives. I think, for anyone who is processing the reality of IF in their lives, this podcast is worth a listen since it examines how memories (which, from a non-spiritual point of view of course, are the building blocks of “who we are”) are created, erased, stored and altered in the brain.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I met my new OBGYN this Tuesday! He passed the audition – he said all the right things and we are on the very same page regarding how to proceed with this last pregnancy and how we’d like to handle each step along the way. It is so comforting to feel that he will be able to anticipate what I need emotionally as well as physically throughout the anticipated fourth and last pregnancy. A friend (I will call her Prof for professor) who suffered from IF recommended him and he is unlike any doctor I have ever met.

One weird thing … when we talked about how inspirational Prof was and how it felt for him when he delivered her baby, tears welled up in his eyes. So that was kind of off-putting. . .

NAH! Just kidding – well mostly.

It was just something you don’t see often, like a male nurse, or Sarah Palin declining an opportunity to shout “You Betcha!” on national TV – rare enough that I noticed and had to decide whether I liked it or not. I decided I liked a Dr. who could tear up in front of me a whole lot better than one who couldn’t. So I guess he’s a keeper.

I called and left a message with Prof to thank her for the wonderful recommendation. But she hasn’t called me back. My feelings are on the verge of being hurt, but I just keep telling myself that she’s a busy Mom with a baby and classes to teach and art to make and that I haven’t been unjustly thrown under the bus by my ex husband’s new wife (her super good friend) or a vicious frenemy of mine (also a good friend of hers). I personally think she was trying to improve the quality of her friendships when she reached out to me. Harumph.

I’m just joking – well mostly. The socially paranoid part of my brain is fighting with the (much smaller and weaker) logical side of my brain which is trying to explain that we are all busy and we are all adults and no one is throwing anyone under any buses. Prof is my one and only live infertility friend; I was counting on her support more than I thought. Hope you all will step up to the plate ;)


I took pee test today (CD 19). Negative. But I tested on the earliest possible day and my boobs really do hurt in an unusual way. If I’m not pregnant, than this boob “ache” is new for me.


My mother in law arrived today. She is a lovely lady, gentle and kind. After reading the horror stories in blogland about invasive, inconsiderate MIL’s who look at you and see 2 dried up ovaries that can’t give her grandchildren, I thank my few lucky stars.

I ordered a digital voice recorder for her visit because I figure if it turns out that I can’t contribute to the line of future heirs, then I can document the family narrative. Except, it just now occurs to me that it becomes less important for me to document my husband’s side of the family if I do not have children. My dear friends, it seems, since I bought the recorder to interview my mother-in-law during her visit, that I have FALLEN IN HOPE AGAIN!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My New Addition

I should be working on a freelance project I am trying to get off my plate - instead I can't stop reading about you all out there who, through sharing your stories, help me maintain my sanity. There is such a difference in the level of anxiety I am experiencing - I can't help but feel that part of it has to do with having your stories to turn to every day. I don't feel so isolated and singled-out anymore. You all know exactly how I'm feeling - in fact I'm often struck by how similar our reactions are. It seems we all travel through the same stages - maybe not in the same order or for the same amount of time, but we've all been "there" in one way or another.

I am comforted by your presence.


In other news, I have shifted the focus of my anxiety from an addition to the family to an entirely different kind of addition - the addition/renovation of my house. Pictured to the left is my house which, if you've read even one of my posts, you probably know is a 40 min. drive outside of the metropolitan area in which I work. I hate the commute and I can't stop talking about it.

Presently, it is a cute, quaint country cottage, but it desperately needs a master bedroom, a kitchen with a dishwasher, and waaaaayyyy more closets.

I guess this suffices as a "before" picture.  Perhaps, if you all seem interested, I will keep posting updates on the "addition I can control. " Who knows, maybe in 9 months I will have a new addition to brag about irrespective of my dumb old eggs.


My boobs are no longer hurting. I feel stupid for thinking I was pregnant for that reason. The boob smashing test is just not reliable (shock! gasp! splutter! what is that you say!?). Yes, I'm sorry but it's true; don't go making an ass of yourself all over blog land if all you have to go by is the boob-smash gauge.

Let's see if I can spare you the merry-go-round of predictions till I know for sure.

Asta la pasta  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Special Message

Many of you have mentioned the book "Coming to Term" as a must-read for recurrent miscarriers. I happened upon the book at the library when I was searching for reading material after my third miscarriage.  Considering that the library isn't very well-funded and that the selection of reading material for miscarriage was fairly slim, I consider it as close to kismet as one can get that I found that book at the time that I did.

This book was informative, well-written and, above all, thorough. After reading it, I felt comfortable with the lay of the RSA land and knew which steps I needed to take next.  It was a lifesaver and I wanted to thank the author, Jim Cohen, for his gift.

So I wrote him and email and he wrote me back with wonderful words of encouragement. Here is our exchange for those of you who might take comfort in his words as I did :

Mr Cohen,

I have never written to an author or artist regarding the positive influence they have had on my life. I've thought of it often, but never followed through.

This time I feel so compelled because your book, Coming to Term, offered me a lifeline in a chaotic sea. I want to offer you a sincere "Thank You" for writing this informative book; it has and will play a very large role in the myriad upcoming decisions I have yet to make (which therapies to attempt, which are unproven, what tests I should take, and even whether I want to try again). 

I have had 3 recurrent miscarriages, the last one explained by a Triploidy. 

I gather that not much new informarmation is known 5 years later regarding some of the contentious procedures or the procedures that were in their infancy at that time.  Is that correct?  Have you followed any of the new developments. 

Thank you again. 
Hi Melanie,

I wrote the book for people like you. I'm so glad to know the words landed in the right place.

No, I haven't learned anything new in the past five years that fundamentally has altered anything I wrote in the book. I think the main message for someone in your shoes still is loud and clear: If you have the desire and the emotional ability to keep trying, your odds are good that if you do get pregnant again (assuming you're under, say, 45, and there's no identifiable underlying problem) you will carry to term. Young humans miscarry a lot. And we miscarry a tremendous amount as we age. That said, we're not pandas: We can breed all year long, so we have repeated chances to become pregnant.

Again, thanks so much for writing, and best of luck, whatever you choose.


My Fate

You know what’s weird? My future re: motherhood is (assuming I am pregnant) already … right this second … written in stone. Since I believe my IF issue is malfunctioning eggs, and because the wonky cell division has or has not already occurred – my fate has been signed, sealed, and delivered to the Universe. I’ll get the memo in about 6 weeks.

This is the closest I will ever come to knowing that there is a future out there that does, in actuality, already exist. My Fate is a real thing – a future already determined, just not yet known. (BTW, I know there are still many things that can go wrong besides chromosomal, but I’m just philosophizing based on the assumed problem. Whether by blighted ovum or stillbirth, there are still only 2 options: mother or not mother).

This is truly the most humbling and poignant lesson I’ve ever had in powerlessness – which is actually very empowering. It must be what it feels like to believe in a God that has a plan for you with the accompanying luxury of giving in to that plan rather than trying to manipulate everything yourself. But since my worldview does not include a God, but instead envisions our lives as the random and chaotic intersection of Circumstance with Individual Action, I usually end up agonizing over past, present, and future decisions, wondering if I correctly chose/am choosing the path that will get me where I want to go.

I suppose you reach this place of calm mindfulness when you’ve reached the limit of the actions you can take as an individual. That is decidedly antithetical to my nature. I have never ever felt that there was a point at which it was safe to give up the never-ending rumination that was my insurance against disaster and failure. I know intellectually that the worrying does no good, but I’ve never FELT it. However, after having made a firm decision with my husband that this is going to be our last go round, there is no more action for me to take besides general upkeep.

I do have to credit my husband for providing the firm resolution behind this decision – a firmness I would never have achieved on my own. But he is crystal clear that this is the last time; and I have agreed. So there it is. And it actually feels good.

Don’t get me wrong … I am still wondering and hoping and I look at my calendar 2-3 times a day to verify the number of days till I know if I am pregnant, but there really is this strange absence of the nail-biting angst I have felt in the past. Instead, I have this weird experience of suspension – in both senses of the word. I observe the sensations in my body and my emotions from a very removed position. For instance, I wonder if the breast soreness and heaviness in my abdomen indicates baby, but the typical hop-scotch of thoughts and fears doesn’t follow. I’m in suspense – not the horror-film kind of suspense but the gentle, floating on your back kind.

There are moments when I will realize the full import of how my life will change and the possibility that I might not get what I want and have to re-invent myself – and that hits me like a ton of bricks. But the pain and drama associated with those thoughts has the potential for too much damage, and thus-far I have been very successful in pushing them to the side.
Alternately, this feeling of calm suspension might indicate such a high state of self-protection that I have entered a zone of perfect denial and disassociation. Shirley McClain, eat your heart out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mashing and Kneading my Doughy Potatoes

(I wrote this yesterday)

CD12. I’ve been mashing my left boob a lot. I never knew that mashing boobs –over and over and over – was such a universal litmus test for verifying that you might be/are/still remain/are no longer pregnant. Until I started reading blogs, I thought I was the only pregnant woman obsessed with touching herself all day long. I am so glad to find out that you all are out there too, squashing and kneading your bosoms when (hopefully) no one is looking. Specifically, my left boob is definitely sore – and my boobs are never sore unless I’m pregnant.

Given the above–referenced significant results of the medically-sophisticated boob-gauge test, I think we may get a BFP this month. Since we have decided that this is our last time to try, I have startling moments in which I realize that my life is barreling towards huge change. The “C” word.

Either way, I’m in for some intense anxiety and a substantial shift in my identity, worldview, priorities, finances, and goals. I will no longer be TTC or thinking about motherhood at some future date. I will be either camped out definitively in the motherhood camp or in the non-motherhood? womanhood? childless? (help me ginger and lime) camp. Either way, the next few weeks and months are going to rock my world.

It is so scary that I am actually not feeling much anxiety at all which means that I am doing a very good job of burying my anxiety way deep down in the darkest parts of my brain where I have to put those thoughts and memories that can do some real damage if I let them free. This is the place for real-life monsters - Unspeakable Horrible Things That Can Actually Happen.


The picture above is a screen shot from my iphone app "imenses." Someone needs to make an iphone app called iWantSomeAnswers or iWantToMakeAllPregnantWomenInvisible. After last month's miss, I decided to track things more carefully. I paid $1.99 for it and I'm sure it's worth exactly that. But it gives me busy work vis a vis TTC and aren't the graphics pretty? I also provided a handy key at the bottom for you all to reference - cause you know you want to know which days I had sex.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dream Team

I have discovered that I have a really short cycle. I thought it was around 25 days, but the past three months indicate a 24-day cycle. Basically, that means that I am popping out an egg no more than 2-3 days after finishing my period. That’s awfully fast, no? Do you think that could have any ramifications on egg quality? Perhaps they are not given enough time to mature? Anyone know anything about that?


I am looking for a new OBGYN today in anticipation of my fourth pregnancy. I was reading B’s blog  which provided an excellent reminder that I needed to pay attention to the things I can control – i.e. my support system and the way I take care of myself.

For my first pregnancy, I chose an obgyn group that my friend had used that was fairly progressive for the area of the country in which I live. My friend* is a hyper-granola type and her approach to pregnancy and childbirth extended to considering options that border on the cannibalistic – she actually considered eating the placenta.

She didn’t; the clinic is not that progressive and a mutual friend of ours (who is a nurse) strongly recommended that she KEEP THAT TO HERSELF. To each her own - but gross. Why don’t you throw in Daddy's nail clippings, Auntie's menstrual blood, fry it all up together and stick a candle on it for the kid’s first birthday. Sorry if you plan on doing this, but I stand by my opinion which is, “DISGUSTING! and WTF!”

Anyway … I used this clinic because I thought that the use of a midwife would be more my speed than a doctor. I respond well to the type of TLC I imagined a midwife could provide, so I phoned them up and got an appt. The blighted ovum diagnosis followed fairly quickly and they induced miscarriage.

I had no problem with the treatment I received at that clinic. But due to the fallout from that pregnancy  and upon the recommendation of my psychiatrist, I decided to find an M.D. in whom I could lay my exclusive trust. Having no other close friends who had had children, I asked around and got a referral for my next Dr. based on rave reviews from colleagues of my nurse friend. I can only assume that each of their pregnancies went off without a hitch because his bedside manner in the case of my miscarriages was not comforting. Competent, yes. Kind, yes. Comforting, no.

He did his job – and he probably even did his job well – but I needed to feel like he was on my team, that we were going to figure it out, that he was going to help me beat it. But I never got the feeling that he was really invested in my case - even in a clinical way. He did his job.

For my third pregnancy, I was ... a mess. I needed the kind of TLC you can't get from blood tests and ultrasounds - I needed an medical expert who wasn't going to stand to lose. So when I asked him, after he telephoned me with the news that my HCG's had doubled properly, what he advised that I do, and he said, "Just be pregnant," I was properly underwhelmed.

So I decided to switch back to the midwife clinic which was another mistake - again not for lack of proper care - but it just was not the right kind of care for someone with my issues. Of course, if the pregnancy had gone smoothly, then I'm sure I would have loved them all. But as it was, I saw three different midwives in 2 clinics over the course of 13 weeks. When I miscarried, there was no one doctor or midwife who was exclusively familiar with my case and the midwives were not able to order tests and write prescriptions. It was a merry-go-round of hearsay and it spun way out of control there for a while.

So now, with my reproductive medical records spread thinly across town, I need to find ONE doctor who will fight with my husband and I. Someone who will provide that all important TLC without making me feel like a hysterical irritation.

My possible new doctor has his audition on Tuesday.


* that should actually read former-friend. She’s no longer a friend because she’s one of those fair-weather friends that show their true colors when the shit hits the fan. Point in fact: I had my first miscarriage a couple of months after her son was born, and she inexplicably faded out of my life with all of the awkwardness and discomfort that avoidance (on her part) brings. She’d be just the type to break up with you in a text message. She is literally the worst friend I ever had.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Facebook Stalker

I stalked my ex-husband on facebook today and it felt horrible. It’s so masochistic and completely dishonors my marriage. I go there to make sure that he’s not “beating” me. I’m not sure yet who’s winning. But if his new wife turns up pregnant - god forbid while I’m NOT pregnant, but even if I am pregnant - I will need to take the day off and do something drastic and probably unhealthy.

I haven't done this in months and months. But something inside me broke yesterday. It's telling, but what it's telling. I'm not sure yet.

We had another contractor come and bid on the renovation to our house and let me tell you – contractors’ opinions are as varied and conflicting as doctors’. This one suggested building new instead of renovating because it will ultimately cost the same but everything will be new. It’s true; but we hadn’t considered it. And now I’m confused again. Every time I think we’ve made a decision, we get another opinion, and my plan is shot to hell. And of course I want to plan for all contingencies and avoid all inefficiencies and generally try to control about a million different details a la the post above.

I want someone else to drive pleeeeeeaaaaaase.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"S" is for September; "S" is for Success

STATUS: (cause I know your waiting with baited breath) - I got my period yesterday - that's damn early. I have fast turnover, it seems, because that was only a 23 day cycle.

SISTER: When I told my Mom several weeks ago that all of my investigative tests came back "normal" (HSP, thrombophilia panel, Karyotpye, etc.) she said, "Well tell me something I don't know!"

I asked her to explain herself at which point she reiterated my maternal grandmother's fertility story (she gave birth to the first of 7 healthy children at the age of 33 and the last at the age of 47!). I take great solace in the excessive and implausible fertlity of my grandmother, hoping that genetics are actually working in my favor and that I have just been enduring the "worst streak of bad luck ever."

And then she told me a story I did not know - that my sister was conceived as a result of a malfunctioning IUD. That's right. My little sister slipped past the sentry; how determined of her. I don't even know if she's ever been told the beginning of her beginning; what great cocktail party fodder! It's pretty cool to imagine that you were so bad ass, even at the cellular level, that you the beat the odds. I need a little bad ass egg of my own! I knew in a very vague way that my sister was unexpected, but I never pursued the details, assuming that my parents suffered a moment of drunken debauchery. Best to just leave that subject alone under those circumstances. But now that I know the truth, I don't know how I could have convinced myself that my mother was involved in any sort of drunken escapade, let alone debauchery. My father maybe. Mom - not a chance. I think she's been "tippsy" like 2x in her life and felt loose and immoral after the fact.

I am someone who needs a lot of order in her life. Though I don’t like to think of myself as such an old lady, I have always liked things predictable, stable, and stress free, so it follows that I am absolutely horrible at change of any kind – good or bad. Change affects my perception of my physical and emotional safety – it even affects my sense of self. I just don’t have a knack for adaptability. Instead, I dig my heels in deep, open my mouth as wide as it’ll go, and emit a psychic scream meant to make the gods’ ears bleed.*

I suspect the extreme expression of this characteristic may have its roots in a traumatic cross-continent move. At the age of thirteen, my parents moved me and my 2 siblings 1,800 miles, five climate zones, and one entire country south. I was in for some heavy duty suffering. I was taken out of an environment to which I was reasonably adapted and dropped into a murky alien planet where 13 year-old girls shaved their legs and “went-out” with boys (which actually just meant holding hands at recess, but I didn’t know that then. I thought they were DATING – like going to the movies and kissing and OMG!) and where the boys snapped your bra and made inappropriate sexual innuendos. Now I am sure that this was all going on in my old environs – I just didn’t notice or didn’t care to notice because I had my safe little niche carved out and was prepared to live in that niche with my same best friends and my same school mates all the way through college.

But that was never to be. Instead, I ended up in Stepfordland; and I was NO be-ribboned, smooth-legged, lip-glossed Southern Belle, but a very awkward, very shy, very different and very new piece of junior high meat. With the heightened senses of a cornered rabbit, I experienced what were probably normal adolescent torture through a lens of intense displacement and disassociation. I don’t know if that experience is the genesis of my change-averse personality, or a stressor that exacerbated a latent characteristic (and precipitated my depression), but whatever the case, that is the first time I remember feeling unmercilessly, unrelentingly victimized by those laughing gods. I felt totally powerless and inept, despite eventually making friends and finding my identity as a nerd.

My sense of the Universe as a dangerous and pernicious prankster remains strong to this day. So you can imagine, then, that I work really hard at controlling my environment so that I don’t have to suffer anymore unpredictable and unwelcome bouts of change. I have never considered myself a traditionalist, having always identified myself as “different” and “outsider.” But after each expectation in my life has been dashed, I am surprised to learn via my grief and disappointment that what I did actually hope for was the safety I assumed was built into a traditional life trajectory - be a good girl and get good grades, establish myself as a respected practitioner in some fascinating field, land an accomplished and handsome husband, have a few children, live in a comfortable/not-ostentatious home, and generally garner respect and admiration from my community and live happily ever after.

I want to be part of the herd after all, and it turns out I can’t. Even worse … I’m not cut out for trailblazing. Not enough confidence, wonder if people will still like me, wonder if I’m doing everything right, etc. etc. Sometimes I just want someone to tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Just like in school - someone tells me what to do then I study real hard and then you’ll give me an A+ and I win! Yay! I’ve always been really good at school.

Well, I am 36 ½ years old and I am keenly aware how many times and ways life can just be absolutely confounding. Not that the unexpected turns have all been unwelcome. My job is really fulfilling and I am thankful that I have found something I can do for 8 hours a day without pulling my eyelashes out. I also have an endlessly kind, loving, and patient husband who truly takes me for all that I am and all that I’m not. I have not one, but THREE homes (2 of which are rented) that leaves us in a stable, comfortable financial position. The rub is that I simply can’t get over how little my intentions and actions have to do with the actual outcomes in my life. The knock-the-wind-out-of-me-leave-me-gasping final blow was this miscarriage thing for 2 reasons:

1) Wanting a life with children was one of the reasons my first husband and I divorced. There were so many complicated issues bubbling around our divorce, but being on different timelines about children was a big factor. To be completely frank, I left with some sense of urgency that my reproductive years were rushing by and I didn’t trust him anymore. I didn’t trust that he loved me, that he wanted to be with me, that we wanted the same things. And so I came out of that marriage with a clear goal – children.

2) Having children was the last remaining component of my “dream life” that would give me a sense of a life-well-led. The perfect marriage was no longer on the table, the accomplished career woman was impossible with no direction (this was before I discovered graphic design). It seemed that as much as I fought for the things I wanted, either I didn’t have it in me to push past failure or there were just too many factors out of my control.

Cut to me on this couch typing away on a miscarriage blog as a recurrent spontaneous aborter. Life is not only changing, it is changed. And I am grappling with some larger issues related to the meaning of life and identity. What am I to DO with myself if I don’t have a family? And why would I want to DO anything anyway considering I have absolutely no control over it.

I am feeling completely powerless and utterly out of control. And my head is full of anger and hate – at myself, at my husband, at my parents, at my friends, at this gloomy, broken world. And it seeps out of me despite my best efforts.


*Of course the gods sit on their mountaintops eating their ambrosia and drinking their nectar and just laugh at me. The Greeks had it right; the gods are cruel, prank-playing asswads that use human suffering for their amusement … or so it seems to me. It’s a sad state of affairs when that version of the Universe resonates with me.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

23CD AKA 11 DPO ... ABCDEFG1234567

I have re-read my posts and I think I am a horrible monster. I am really really an angry, temperamental little bitch and I don't know how my husband puts up with me. If I could see past my enormous reserves of self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-indulgence, I might be able to process my sadness and my anger without bathing in it.

I have been just awful to my husband. Unloving and unfair. I see a pattern in these posts, and I don't like what I see. I see a whole lot of anger and frustration taken out on my husband. Do you see the same thing? Tell the truth, or tell me your story.

I blame everything around me for what I perceive is wrong with my life and 1) there actually is nothing wrong with my life except that I haven't had a child and 2) none of what might be wrong with my life is anybody else's fault. But since I have no one to blame, where does all that anger go? I think I need to look up some self-help on anger.


I also realize that I have been ignorantly jumping the gun trying to assess the nausea I have been feeling. It is unlikely that at a mere 7dpo, I could have been feeling nauseous from HCG production; implantation would probably not have occurred by then. I think the culprit is actually coffee on top of an empty stomach that is irritated by emotional stress and pre-natal vitamins. I am not taking very good care of myslef.

Yesterday at 22CD I took my first pee test. Negative. I am more upset than I thought I’d be considering I’m at the earliest possible test date. I’ve been barely, barely staving off madness. I had to stay three nights in a row in town instead of making the 40 minute commute since my innate impatience presupposes that every single other driver on the road is out to make my life miserable – for 40 minutes – 2 times a day. You can see why I opted to just stay in town (where we rent a room in my friend's house for just such emergencies) rather than pop a blood vessel.

On an ironic note, I am eagerly searching for blood on the TP after peeing. I WANT there to be blood because that will indicate implantation. Each time I've been pregnant, I bled a little at implantation time. So that gives me a little knowledge ahead of the curve. So far no blood ... obviously.

I’ll know pretty much for sure in time for Labor Day, so I’m looking forward to seriously tying one on if I’m negatory.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today, I am about 19 CD or approx 7 DPO. I feel weird . . .

I am so tired. This morning I was also inarguably nauseous though that subsided by about 11:00am. I hadn’t eaten any breakfast but that is not part of my typical morning routine and I am certainly not someone who suffers from nausea unless I’ve taken a multi-vitamin on an empty stomach (which I hadn’t). Perhaps these are red wine withdrawl symptoms? Last night, I threw my phone down in a fit of temper, prompting my husband to sneak up to our bedroom and leave me to my tantrum. He had to TEXT me good night and that he loved me, that’s how unapproachable I was. Finally, I have been teary and emotional all day. The teary, emotional part is not so unusual – but I can’t assign it to anything right now; it’s just a pervasive, floating sadness that sticks to anything that enters into my sphere of influence. Otherwise life is as stable as life can be.

So here I am, spinning that same old 45. Am I? Am I not? When can I test? How will I know? What if it is? What if it isn’t?

Seriously? I haven’t learned that that is fruitless? Why are we, as humans, so susceptible to running the same mental game that never got us anywhere in the first place? Like maybe this time, if I put enough angst into it, I can discern some fine nuance I hadn’t ever thought of before. I guess it’s kind of like my scardy-cat Chloe - because I know she high tails it at the mere suggestion of possible danger, I never have to worry about her. She does quite enough worrying to keep herself out of the jaws and tires of her natural predators. 

At least I’m not running to Google every half hour. I’m done with research (till the next bend in the road, I’m not Superwoman for God’s sake). That is the benefit of having decided that this is the last pregnancy and to have committed to an avenue of conception. The rest is out of my control and I am now (barely) managing my anxiety by seeking commiseration in all of your blogs.

I am looking forward to the last 2 days of work when my boss will be leaving for the long weekend. It's as good as a holiday for me too!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fighting to conceive

My window of fertility has officially passed and I am ...... 16 days into my cycle (I don't have the lingo down. Is that 16CD?)

We TTC 3 out of the 5 days of fertility. As usual, on the day I was predicted to be most fertile, Jason and I had a blowup that made any act of intimacy unlikely. This is the THIRD time during a TTC month that a fight has ensued during ovulation time.

The first time was during a vacation in Spain, and hubby was tired and grumpy in our unairconditioned hotel room. He wasn't in the mood or something, and I couldn't understand why I had to prod him through the necessary exercises when he KNEW it was on the agenda. Did I really have to tease it out of him? Convince him that time is of the essence in these matters? Remind him that it might mean we'd have to repeat the whole thing next month? Remind him that my eggs are not getting younger? We did not conceive that month.

Same scenario second and third time. Husband being coy, tired, inexplicably resistant. Me feeling resentful that I have to cajole and persuade him. Then we fight about something inconsequential of which I have no recollection, and we end up not having sex. Despite these monthly histrionics, we have managed to get pregnant three times ... but Good God!

This month when the fight broke out, I stamped downstairs to the living room couch, unable to bear the sound of his breathing, and with tears streaming down my face, wondered how we got to this place AGAIN. I could no longer chalk it up to fatigue or some other such elusive cause. I think, plain and simple, the full weight of our fear, anxiety, and hope is focused like a laser on the only thing we are able to DO with respect to becoming parents. Having unprotected sex is the only thing we actually ACT on; all the rest is completely and utterly out of our control. In other words, because we generally are able to conceive, sex without contraception is now the traditional moment we open ourselves up to a world of potential pain. And apparently, as a couple, we don't shoulder the stress very gracefully.

So I marched right back up the stairs to our bedroom, turned on the light, and insisted that we address the fact that, for the third time, we have fought while trying to conceive. There were no big apologies and no earth-shattering breakthroughs. We just spoke our feelings to one another - good and bad - and acknowledged the big ass elephant in the room. We didn't have sex that night and I went back to the couch (which is very comfy). But I wasn't really angry at him and I don't think he was angry at me. We were both just tired to our bones and scared to death; we both understood why we were snarling at one another.

I've got to say that in reading other blogs, I don't hear too much about dissonance in others' relationships. But infertility has been hard on our relationship. There is a lot of tension and sadness and guilt and stress and, of course, we usually end up taking it out on each other. I love my husband very much, and I don't think of us as people who fight a lot. I certainly don't want to conceive a child under circumstances that don't include love and tenderness and intimacy. All I can hope, if this month is a wash, is that we go into the next month more self-aware and more gentle with one another.

But I do have to cut us some slack 'cause this infertility shit ain't for the faint-hearted.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Well - the second portion of the post was to have been a thoughtful essay on waiting ... and how I am absolutely horrible at it. Worse than you, I promise. It's pathological. But I'll save that for later and just skip to the main point of my unwritten essay to explain that the second reason I am feeling calmer is that O-Day is upon us.

I started my period last Monday and will be ovulating in earnest anywhere between tomorrow and Friday. Jason went on a white-water rafting vacation with his buddy; he's been gone since last Thursday. I instructed him that he needed to blow a wad or two while on vacation so that he's not delivering old sperm tomorrow.

So ... the first waiting is over - to be followed by approximately infinite periods of waiting. Waiting for a pee stick. Waiting for an ultrasound. Waiting to make a phone call with good news/bad news. Waiting for test results. Waiting, and waiting and waiting and waiting for life to take a right turn or a left turn.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am finally calm… A couple of things have happened this week that seem to be the cause of this uncharacteristic serenity. I’ll split this into 2 parts because you all have lives and didn’t sit down to read a book. :)

PART I: The Decision (insert medival trumpet announcement)

Jason and I have agreed that we will try one more time, but that this will be the last time. It took us a long time to get past the paralyzing fear and emotional mudslinging to hammer out the details – although truthfully, the mudslinging was part and parcel of communicating which parts of this were non-negotiable for either party. I don’t suppose ours was a textbook example of “how to communicate with your spouse to make important decisions,” but it was our messy, human version of grappling with life’s cruel bag of tricks.

Frankly, I didn’t know how we’d come to a mutually agreeable decision, even wondering if our relationship would survive the decision at all. But I guess between my insistence on talking, his insistence that we’d make it through this, the specialists, the therapist, the tears, the books, the blogs, supportive friends, my lovingly prostheletyzing mother (who insists prayer will deliver miracles, which begs the question, what did her prayers produce the last three times? – but I digress), my computer scientist father (who delivered a comforting statistical analysis via email*) and lots of chemical crutches – we stumbled through the fog of disappointment and grief and detailed the following plan:

1. Au Natural:
We will just go the natural route since none of the physical or genetic assessments warrant other measures. More specifically, we ruled out IVF for a combination of reasons – mostly financial and emotional. We decided we could not endure the process without absolute assurance that the result would be positive. I mean, I’d rather have my entire back tattooed than go through even one IVF cycle and come out the same way I went in – less $30,000.

I just don’t have it in me … though I did have to consider long and hard whether IVF was a test of how badly I wanted a child. But I don’t think it matters, nor is it even possible to determine, how BADLY I want to be a mother – how the fuck do you measure that? Probably some sort of machine called a guiltometer. Fuck that. What I really needed to consider was what I thought I could endure. Because that is where everyone must draw the line at some point if they continue to fail to conceive. What can one realistically endure before there is significant or even irreparable damage? I am of the opinion that it is all too possible to fail to draw the line, and the costs can be astronomical – physical damage, emotional breakdown, failed relationships, financial distress, damaged career, etc. etc. I knew, even after my first miscarriage, that having a child was not an “at all costs” proposition for me; but deciding where to draw the line has still been a bitch of a decision. I am actually rather thankful that my husband is less inclined than I am to keep trying ad infinitum because I might have pushed myself beyond reasonable limits out of sheer anger. Though initially painful to embrace, I can actually now look forward to the end of this heartwrenching journey either way – with child or without.

Our recourse will be pre-natal vitamins, magical baby aspirin, and a sensible diet.

2. What Constitutes a Pregnancy? 

You may wonder why this is even a debatable issue. You’re pregnant when you’re pregnant, right? Well, not in my mind. In my mind, there are soooooo many shades of grey.

Are you pregnant as soon as the sperm hits the egg? If there was a diagnostic test for that, would fertilization constitute a pregnancy even if the fertilized egg never made it out the tunnel of love (fallopial tube)? Is it when the embryo implants? Or rather, are we “in play” when you see a heartbeat?

I realize that technically, every one of these scenarios constitutes a pregnancy. But back in the day, all of these states of pregnancy would have been completely unverifiable-a mere inkling. I don’t even think I know how you definitively diagnosed a pregnancy before HCG measurements, though I think in the 60’s it might have involved rabbits.

This issue came up because I thought that perhaps I’d feel cheated if this go round, I turned up with a chemical pregnancy or something and miscarried so early that it would almost seem like a late period. But there are just too many crazy scenarios to anticipate, and the whole thing was becoming an exercise in mental masturbation. Better to aim for clarity. So pee stick calls the shots; when the pee stick/s (unlimited number allowed) indicates we are pregnant, that constitutes the fourth pregnancy. Whether the pregnancy is determined to be a chemical pregnancy, a missed miscarriage, or another blighted ovum, there will be no more tries. Final match, final set, final point. 

3. Statistics are NOT our friends:

Finally, we have decided that we will skip the screening blood panels and jump straight to CVS, the earliest diagnostic test available to determine the chromosomal health of the fetus. This is important, I think, in our case since our last fetus was lost as a result of a chromosomal abnormality and I suspect that the first 2 were lost for the same reason. Plus, I don’t trust the HUGE margins of statistical error on those screening tests. With our triploidy fetus, the screening indicated that there was a 98% chance that the fetus was healthy. If we’d decided NOT to do the amnio based on those numbers, the pregnancy could have been much more complicated and emotionally draining. Luckily, the decision was taken out of our hands naturally before the amnio was even conducted.


As you MUST have gathered by now, I am not a creature that likes to leave any rock unturned. I am vigilant, obsessive, cautious and detailed. A true Capricorn if I actually believed that stuff. My husband is a different beast, he floats through life and is happy about 75% of the time to let life just happen to him … or so it seems to me. I have yet to figure out HOW he made the decision to try once more; it certainly wasn’t by reading or blogging or googling. Maybe his brain worked on it while he was bolting together the jeep he’s rebuilding or maybe he thought about being a father as he planted his vegetable garden -a passion he shares with his deceased father.

I don’t mean to sell him short. When he really wants something, he has the wherewithal to make it happen. A dive course, rebuilding a car, taking dance classes to win me over (he had me convinced he LOVED ballroom dancing, insisting we get together and “practice.” I am so naive). As it seems to function, ours are two mutually unintelligible, but complementary approaches to life. In the most clichéd way, I think we balance each other out. I am sure our decision regarding children reflects the best of both worlds. Despite his inattention to his toenails and his 2 taxidermied ducks-on-a-wall, I am lucky to have him. ;)


* Email from my dad:

"Suppose you decide to try 4 more times, in future (Hope you are willing to look that far ahead).

What's the probability of success in at least one of those 4 times?
Probability of first failure = 0.35
Probability of first and second tries failing = 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.1225
Probability of 3 failed attempts = 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.042875
Probability of 4 failed attempts = 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 x 0.35 = 0.01500625
The probability of at least one success in those 4 attempts = 1 - 0.01500625 = 0.985

Hope Jason likes these odds :-) "